Two teams, Pittsburgh and Boston, have been drawing attention in the Koufax Division. The main reason? You guess it - starting pitching.
The Buccos (47-31) have been challenging two-time division champs Arizona all season. Nearing the halfway point, the Pirates are just 1 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks. Pittsburgh is third in the league in team ERA (3.64) and have outscored their opponents 415-315 so far this season. The Pirates, fourth place division finishers the last two seasons, sports a strong starting staff: Kerry Wood (8-2, 3.58), Barry Zito (9-5, 3.73), Roy Oswalt (5-5, 3.88) and Matt Clement (8-5, 3.56)
Boston (37-35), with a strong recent surge, looks to improve from their 5th place finish a year ago. Although 20th in the league in team batting average and 19th in team runs scored, pitching is carrying the Sox. Boston sports three of the top places in individual ERA: 2-Tim Wakefield (2.39), 3-Pedro Martinez (2.77) and 4-Derek Lowe (3.02). Boston ranks 2nd in team ERA (3.41) just behind Arizona. The Red Sox now have an outside chance to sneak into one of the wild card playoff slots.